24 April 2014, The Tablet

Song of the earth

Regeneration and resurrection

Walking home with my shopping one dark, chilly evening in early March, I went through a small park in Crosby. Impossible to miss, I stared at the sudden appearance of the crocuses – violet, white and blue – translucent in the shadows, staked out like a rosary between tree trunks. Overnight, from drab patches of lifeless leaves and muck, something beautifully fragile and life-giving had soundlessly emerged.Pope Francis was sensitive to this phenomenon of early spring. It mirrored something of Easter for him. In one of the loveliest passages in Evangelii Gaudium he writes: “When all seems to be dead, signs of the Resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force … In the midst of darkness something new always springs to life, and sooner or later produces
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